On Tuesday, PBS Frontline will be unveiling a new documentary, Confronting ISIS, which presents an in-depth examination of the numerous challenges facing the next president of the United States. At last night’s Clinton-Trump debate, the second time the two have met as candidates head-to-head, each lauded the gravity of the threat posed by the Islamic State, yet neither put forward a comprehensive plan that would address all of the issues raised in the preview of Confronting ISIS made available to the Inquisitr.
At the Clinton-Trump debate, the Republican called into question Hillary Clinton’s plans to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States by several hundred percent to 65,000. Trump had previously called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States; last night he stated that his position had “morphed” to one of “extreme vetting.”
More than one observer has expressed the view that perhaps Syrians should be staying and fighting instead of fleeing to Europe and North America, as reported by Truth Revolt. For all the praise Canada’s generous Syrian refugee acceptance statistics receive, it has been noted that the nation places restrictions on single Syrian men seeking refugee status, as reported by the Guardian.
“People are coming into our country. Like, we have no idea who they are, where they’re from, what their feelings about our country is [sic]. And she wants 550 percent more. This is going to be the greatest Trojan horse of all time.”
Later, Trump stated that arming rebels often results in the rebels exhibiting worse behavior than prevailing powers and that he did not support it.
PRI reported in April on the conclusion that Syrian President Bashir al-Assad had “command responsibility for the extra-judicial detention, torture and killing of thousands of his own citizens” and that enough evidence existed for him to be prosecuted for war crimes.
As the PBS Frontline documentary presents exceptionally well, while politicians have grappled with the best course of action and attempted to implement halfheartedly conceived plans, cities in wide swaths of Syria and Iraq have been turned to rubble.
Who should single Syrian men be joining-up to fight for if they shouldn’t be fleeing their war-torn home? The war criminal Assad? ISIS? Or numerous rebel forces like the Free Syrian Army that Donald Trump, and many others, have been reluctant to fund and arm.
Trump stated that while he doesn’t like Assad, the Syrian president, and by association, Russia and Iran, were “killing” ISIS and that he finds this preferable to arming rebels, which debate moderator Martha Raddatz noted was in contradiction with statements made by his vice-presidential running mate Mike Pence. Trump also chided the Iran nuclear deal brokered by a Democrat, Secretary of State John Kerry.
Hillary Clinton discussed specifically targeting the reported leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The former secretary of state was at the center of the Obama administration’s team that, secretly, as Donald Trump has suggested recent administrations have not conducted operations, targeted and executed Osama bin Laden, as reported by the Washington Post.
Clinton also expressed support for supporting Kurdish fighters to push ISIS out of Iraq.
Of all four presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, objectively, by far, has the most experience as a diplomat and in successfully fighting international terrorism.
With Confronting ISIS, Frontline gives viewers a first-hand look at what is faced by whoever becomes commander-in-chief in November. It is clear that no plan will be easy to implement or please every party involved.
Frontline correspondent Martin Smith traveled to five nations with deep connections to the fight against ISIS, of which the outcome of the Clinton-Trump presidential race may have a significant impact: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey.
“There are no simple answers,” Martin Smith’s narration begins.
The production, which contains graphic footage shot from behind ISIS lines, follows the events that led to the end of Chuck Hagel’s service as secretary of defense and the beginning of Ash Carter’s.
Confronting ISIS features Smith traveling to a village south of Mosul in Iraq with Kurdish Peshmerga forces, discussed in the Clinton-Trump debate, in the days before the town was retaken from the terrorist group.
“The Kurds are considered America’s best fighters, both here and in nearby Syria,” Smith somberly narrates.
The soldiers interviewed by Smith described ISIS attacks on villages by groups of up to 500 fighters, including up to 20 suicide bombers. ISIS fighters are shown rolling into Mosul in 2014, in convoys of U.S.-made military vehicles left by U.S. forces to arm the Iraqi army.
Confronting ISIS addresses the deep reluctance on the part of the American public to have significant numbers of U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East in combat roles, which has been seen as further reducing the amount of options available to current President Barack Obama and whoever the future president will be.
Throughout the documentary, Martin Smith’s and U.S. government officials’ frustration with how long it took for what little international reaction there was to occur is evident. It is presented that in order for ISIS to be defeated, major changes are needed with the ruling Assad government in Syria.
The number of factors involved with putting an end to the Islamic State includes balancing the desires of both Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq, as well as the desires of Kurds in Iraq and Syria, which then affects relations with Turkey. Turkish relations with the Kurds are poor, and the refusal by Turkey to allow the use of its airfields could affect the ability of the United States to operate in the region.
The Kurdish PKK is considered to be a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State. Confronting ISIS features instances when Turkey worked together with Kurds to enable support of forces in Syria, seemingly paramount to any successful effort against ISIS.
The Kurds are seen by most observers as being in the best position to defeat ISIS. Can the United States provide enough support to the Kurds if it loses Turkey as an ally? Further complicating the situation, other nations, such as Yemen, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, each have different connections to the Islamic State.
Comparisons are made in Confronting ISIS between corporal and capital punishment utilized by ISIS and in Saudi Arabia, the use of Saudi Arabian textbooks in ISIS schools, and a climate of anti-Western sentiment in Wahhabi culture, seen as comparable to rhetoric from the Islamic State.
Saudi officials interviewed in the documentary deny and disavow any connection between the nation and the Islamic State. Examples of Saudi television satirizing ISIS are presented in the documentary. Examples of Saudi citizens being immolated, as Jordanian ISIS prisoner Muath al-Kaseasbeh was, remain elusive. The burning of human beings is reported to be forbidden by even strict Saudi Wahhabi Islam.
The Frontline special details the difficulty faced by the United States in recruiting soldiers once candidates learn that they are not permitted to fight back if attacked by pro-Assad Syrian forces, as well as the brutal retaliation on the part of Iraqi Shia militia against Sunnis, once occupied areas had been cleared of ISIS fighters in recent battles.
Confronting ISIS will be broadcast on PBS and online on Tuesday, October 11 at 9 p.m. ET.
[Featured Image by John Moore/Getty Images]